Contacts: John Callahan
BOEM today announced it will prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) in support of a potential 2019 oil and gas lease sale in the Beaufort Sea, off Alaska’s northern coast. The EIS will analyze the potential effects of leasing, exploration, development and production of oil and natural gas in the proposed lease sale area.
The Notice of Intent (NOI) to Prepare an EIS will publish in the Federal Register on Friday, Nov. 16. Upon publication, the NOI will open a 30-day public comment period extending through Monday, Dec. 17. During this time, BOEM will hold public meetings and accept comments through www.regulations.gov.
The proposed sale’s inclusion in the Draft Proposed Program and the publication of this NOI do not mean a final decision to hold a lease sale has been made. Rather, information gathered during the public comment period will help BOEM prepare the EIS, which in turn will inform a final decision on whether to hold the proposed sale.
“We look forward to receiving thoughtful, substantive input on this EIS,” said Dr. James J. Kendall, director of BOEM’s Alaska Region. “We especially need to hear from residents of the Beaufort Sea communities, letting us know how the proposed leasing area is currently being used and what specific areas need extra attention. To address these issues, we will use rigorous science together with traditional knowledge and other input we receive from this early step in the leasing process."
The area identified for the potential lease sale includes the entire Beaufort Sea OCS planning area. It extends from the 3-nautical-mile limit of State of Alaska submerged lands northward to latitude 75° N on its west side, and to latitude 74° N on its east side. It extends from longitude 156° W (roughly north of the village of Utqiaġvik) on the west to the Canadian maritime boundary on the east. The area encompasses about 65.1 million acres.
The Department of the Interior’s 2019-2024 National Outer Continental Shelf Oil and Gas Leasing Draft Proposed Program proposes lease sales in the Beaufort Sea in 2019, 2021, and 2023. BOEM last held a lease sale in the Beaufort Sea in April 2007. That lease sale resulted in the leasing of 90 blocks, and brought more than $42 million into the federal treasury.
More information about the potential sale — including the NOI to Prepare an EIS, instructions for commenting, and a map of the proposed area — is available at: www.boem.gov/beaufort2019
SCHEDULE FOR SCOPING MEETINGS
Dec. 3 Utqiagvik (Barrow High School)
Dec. 4 Nuiqsut (Kisik Community Center)
Dec. 5 Kaktovik (Community Center)
Dec. 6 Anchorage (Dena’ina Center)
The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) promotes energy independence, environmental protection and economic development through responsible, science-based management of offshore conventional and renewable energy resources.